Relationships take work. Hard work.
It almost doesn’t matter what kind of relationship: friendship, romantic, parent-child, co-workers. Each of these relationships involve work.
Though, maybe none so much as those of the family. And, this is especially true of Romantic-spousal relationships.
Through the years, I have read a ton of books/articles on relationships. Dating to marriage. Some of them I found extremely helpful, and others, not so much. Below, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite books on the subjects of dating & marriage.
Reading these books won’t necessarily guarantee you a perfect relationship with your significant other, but they do offer wonderful advice and guidance for building strong relationships and fixing damage.
For starters, the book I look to for every relationship (including the one I have with myself) is the Bible. God’s word has information for each of us on how to build Godly relationships with our friends, our families, and even those we don’t get a long with.
Beyond that, these books are written by authors who have studied relational psychology or ministry, and those who understand what it takes to make relationships work. They each hold some amazing wisdom we could all apply to our lives (though, most of the dating books on my list are written for women).
*After the “Kissed Dating Goodbye” phase that was rampant for a while, I discovered a book that made a lot more sense for real-world, grown up relationships. Though, I don’t completely agree with each word, I do feel that this book is a wealth of information for people in the dating world: How To Get A Date Worth Keeping: Be Dating In Six Months Or Your Money Back
*Sometimes, we just need a reminder that we belong to God, not to a man. As women, we can get focused on finding a perfect relationship, we forget Christ died to bring us that perfect relationship with Him already. On that note, I have two to share: Captivating Revised and Updated: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul & Spoken For: Embracing Who You Are and Whose You Are
*One of my favorite relationship gurus is Dr. John Gottman. It is said he can predict divorce with some great accuracy after 90 seconds of viewing how a couple disagrees. If you only read one book about building/fixing your marriage, let it be his book on 7 principles of lasting marriage.
*While you are engaged, the relationship is fun and new. But, often, people get so wrapped up in the wedding, they forget they have to prepare for a marriage. Not just playing house, but a real, live blending of two lives. On that note, I have discovered 2 books that really focus on how to build a relationship that will last before you walk down the aisle, not after: The Right One: How to Successfully Date and Marry the Right Person & Before You Plan Your Wedding…Plan Your Marriage
*His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage has been a big recommendation for many years. Filled with practical advice about relationship in marriage, this one has been used over the years to help repair, as well as prevent, marital discord.
Relationships at Any Stage
Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships – This book is a classic, as well, and has many variations for different types of relationships. The focus of this book is not just how we interact with out spouse, but everyone around us. Trying to figure out how to deal with your teen? There’s a book for that, too. Trouble with work-life balance? Yep, this book tackles that as well. This is a classic in the library of many therapists, like myself. And, a read-re-read for those of us who struggle to keep our boundaries at different times.
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts – This book is another one that is used for all of our relationships. Wondering why your sister sits so close to you or why your child asks you if you’re proud? This book may give you a glimpse of how they give/receive love. Wondering why your spouse has to be in the same room as you constantly, but you feel confident just saying “I love you” is enough? This book addresses that, too. Once we understand how we, and others around us, express love, showing affection in relationships can become much easier.
So, there you have it. These books should keep you busy for a while. I know they have been useful and informative for me over the years.
If you have a favorite singleness/dating/engagement/marriage/relationship book, feel free to share it below. I am always looking for new reading material to add to my arsenal. And, I believe that when it comes to working on your relationship, hearing what the experts have to say can go a long way.